Four Sneaky Reasons Your Practice Isn't Growing

When things aren’t going as you’d like in your business, the last thing you want to hear is that it’s your fault. 

It’s the last thing you want to hear and the first thing you need to accept. 

I know.... OUCH, right?

Here’s the deal. We can blame the economy, medical insurance changes, a local employer going out of business and more. 

But all of those external factors we’d like to blame are merely ways to keep ourselves in the victim position and avoid taking responsibility. Because, when you accept responsibility, you may then also accept the challenge of making choices, creating changes and taking action. 

This is one of the hardest things about entrepreneurship—it shines a light on areas where we individually have room for growth

And often times (possibly all of the time), if we aren’t ready and willing to grow ourselves, our businesses stay stuck. Or worse, we don’t generate enough revenue to continue operating. 

After a decade of coaching and mentoring other chiropractors in their practices, there are a few patterns I’ve noticed in those who feel stuck in their business growth. 

Because I love watching people transforming themselves and their businesses, I’m sharing with you 4 of those patterns here. 

If you’re struggling to get your business to grow, see if one of these hits too close to home. 

  1. Your Marketing Sucks.

    That’s not very nice to say, I know. But I’m telling you this because I love you and want to see you grow. And because it’s so darn TRUE for so many of us Chiropractors.

    We’re taught in school that everyone who has a spine and is breathing needs a chiropractor, and we confuse that message for a marketing strategy.  So we leave school and engage in guerrilla marketing tactics.  

    We leave our business cards in every book in the local library. We sign up for the chamber and toastmasters and BNI and every networking group we can afford to become a member of. We go door-to-door handing out coupons. And of course, we set up a table at every health fair that rolls around.

    For some people, these tactics work.  (I built my first practice with these kinds of activities) For others, there’re merely draining with little to no return on investment. 

    The great thing is: good marketing is actually really simple and can be fun.  Yes, I said it--marketing can be FUN!  

    The first step is to know who it is that you want to market to.  
  2. You’re Hiding.

    Imagine this scenario: you want to go on a road trip. You’re super excited about this trip and all of the amazing things you’ll surely see and do and learn.

    But when it comes time to start planning this trip, you do nothing. Well, nothing that’s really going to get you anywhere at least.

    You might pack some clothes, make a new road trip playlist, and think about what kind of food you want to have available along the way. These things all seem like really reasonable road trip planning actions.

    But, the truth of the matter is that you actually have no idea where it is you want to go. Could be Miami; could be Ft. Lauderdale. And you definitely haven’t got a map to follow, because again you haven’t taken any time to decide where it is you want to go. You’ve just heard that road trips are awesome and that you should probably take one!

    The hardest part of all of this actual-planning-avoidance is that when you finally do feel ready to decide where it is you want to go, when you want to get there and HOW you’ll get there... you realize you actually have no idea where you are RIGHT. NOW. Uh oh

    A map from Chicago to Miami will look quite a bit different than a map from Boston to Miami.

    This is what we all too often do with our businesses. We show up and treat the patients each day but when asked, we have no idea how many office visits we saw last month or how much gross revenue we collected.  In other words, we have no idea where we are on the map right now.

    And when asked about our goals, we say our goal is “to grow”. To grow?! To grow where??? Do you want to grow the number of unique individual patients in your practice? to double the revenue? something else?

    Basically, stating your goal is to grow your business is the same as saying you want to take a road trip and when asked where you’re headed you say “somewhere.”

    So what's the deal?  Well, we often don't look at where we are right now with our practices because.... well, because it's easier to hide from reality.  We're afraid to take the blindfold off and really look.

    But guess what happens when you DO take a look at your statistics?  You create clarity.  And clarity attracts growth.

    So, take the blindfold off and stop hiding. Look at your statistics on a regular basis
  3. You Need An Attitude Adjustment.

    I know, I know... Again, not nice! But hey, if you need someone to be nice to you right now, maybe your four-legged best friend is better suited for that role. I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant, not sleeping well and have hit the “I’ll do anything to get this baby OUT,” phase a tad too early. 

    (But do know that I share these points with you from a deep and true place of caring, even if I come across as crabby right now.) 

    Ok, here’s what I mean more precisely when I suggest that maybe your practice isn’t growing as you’d like because you need an attitude adjustment. Within the last week, have you said:
  • I really need more new patients.
  • I need people to follow my recommendations.
  • I need people to understand the benefits of chiropractic. 
  • I need to make more money, or I’m going to die!

Be honest. Was it within the last week? How about within the last day? Did you wake up this morning thinking any or all of these?

Well, my friend, I’ve been there, too. We all start somewhere and for many of us, we had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into when we chose to become practice owners (and it’s likely a good thing we didn’t). 

We’re gonna get a bit woo here, so get ready. 

How do you feel when your thoughts are consumed with “need”?  Like really, how do you feeeeeeeeel

Do you feel awesome, excited, and joyful?  Or is it more like anxious, dreadful and pessimistic?  

Most likely, the latter.  And this just doesn’t work. 

Building a business, like it or not, is a deep spiritual journey that requires personal growth before business growth.  Eventually, we each arrive at a point where it becomes clear that in order to get our business to the next level, we have to become someone different. 

If your thoughts are consumed with neediness, lack and scarcity, it probably makes absolutely zero sense to you right now to change your thoughts so that you can reach your business goals.  But I promise you, this isn’t just an idea I made up.  It’s a Universal Law. 

You will attract what you’re vibrating.  If you’re vibrating neediness, you’ll continue to be needy.  If you change your vibe to joy and gratitude, for example, guess what you get?  Stuff to feel joyful and grateful for. 

This is why all the authors and gurus and experts in business and personal development tout the morning routine complete with gratitude journaling and meditation. 

(Those experts didn’t become experts, by the way, by staying stuck in their “I need to sell more books or I’m going to die, and everything in the world completely sucks!” thoughts.)

Write down at least three things that you appreciate today.  Do it again tomorrow

4. You’re Already Completely Overwhelmed. 

The realest of the real. 

You may have read the first three sneaky reasons that you’re practice isn’t growing and thought “oh no, that’s not me. I don’t have that problem.” 

However, if you’re a chiropractor, a practice owner AND a mom, you most likely feel at least a teeeeeeeensy bit overwhelmed right now. 

Even if you’re not overwhelmed in your office, you’re overwhelmed at home.  You’ve got dishes piling up, a child with a cough that keeps everyone up all night, and you haven’t opened the mail in two weeks. 

No matter if the overwhelm is just at home or popping up at home and in your office, feeling overwhelmed can stop growth in its tracks.  Think about it: why would the Universe add more to your plate for you to manage if you already feel like you’re not managing what you already have well? 

For awhile, I believed that an overwhelmed mama chiropractor needed to first work at clearing out the clutter in her life and business before getting focused on growth.  But lately, I’ve been singing a different tune.  A tune which delivers a message of “embrace the chaos.” 

Why?  Because we have children.  And children are chaos.  They’re loud, they poop on the floor and throw food on the table. 

When you have children, the dishes, laundry, cleaning and tantrum-defusing never truly end (not even when they’re teenagers).  Since we’re not likely to send our children away for the sake of reducing the chaos and overwhelm to create space for our businesses to grow, our only other clear option is to learn to embrace the chaos. 

Recognize that if your children go with you to your office, they will bring the chaos with them.  So be kind to yourself. 
If taking your kiddos to work with you is what feels right for you and your family, lighten up your expectations.  Cut your goals in half.  Or even by 75%. 
The perfectionist in you will hate me for saying that.  But I promise, if you work toward (and achieve) an attainable goal, you will be far better off than if you had set a reach-for-the-stars goal that you gave up on because it started to seem impossible

Overall, if you're overwhelmed, you have two options.  One, do whatever it takes to change it.  Two, learn to accept and embrace it.

Decide which option feels most attainable for you. 

Well, now that I’ve delivered you a plateful of all-the-things-you’re-doing-wrong, I have to remind you of what you already know: 

In just about every single second of the 86,400 seconds of each day,
you are doing the best you know how to do. 

I know that’s both comforting and frustrating...

So, there’s actually a fifth sneaky reason that you’re business isn’t growing: 
You're trying to do it all on your own. 

Doing it all on your own might work for awhile, and it might work very very slowly. 

If you’re ready to turn the ship, who can you ask for help?